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INTERNET ADDICTION AMONG TEENAGERS 11

AnInvestigation into Internet Addiction among Teenagers and its Impacton Society

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AnInvestigation into Internet Addiction among Teenagers and its Impacton Society

Abstract

Thispaper has investigated Internet addiction among teenagers and itsimpact on society. It has been shown that internet addiction isprevalent among teenagers around the globe, though prevalence variesfrom one country to the other. In the world, 19.8 teenagers areInternet addicts. It has been demonstrated that being addicted to theInternet is similar with other addictions such as alcohol, gambling,and drugs. The impulse-control problems linked with Internetaddiction encompass computer addiction, cybersex addiction, cyberrelationship addiction, informative overload, and net Compulsions.Addiction results in various negative impact on cognitivefunctioning, results in poor academic performance, makes teenagers totake part in risky activities, poor interpersonal associations, poordietary behaviors, as well as self-injurious actions.

Thecontemporary time is characterized by rapid technological growth.This infrastructural growth has seen various applications includingthe Internet to be widely used around the globe. Internet has beenincorporated in daily life due to its explosive growth throughout theworld. It is available in colleges, homes, internet cafes, as well asschools. Internet applications including chatting rooms, facebook,Twitter, and discussion forums among others have become commonespecially amongst the teenagers. The accessibility and mobility ofmedia has resulted in Internet addiction among the young people andthis is viewed as a potential concern. Some of the general onlineactivities encompass online game, chatting, doing school work, andreading and replying emails. Preliminary researches carried out bythe National Centre of Education Statistic have proved that inAmerica, the majority of children and teenagers aged roughly five toseventeen years have Internet access (Lam et al. 2009).

Thecontroversial and compulsive nature of Internet addiction has made itto obtained amplified attention. Internet addiction is believed to bea present-day concern caused by easily accessible computers as wellas online information. It is an obsessive disorder with similarcharacteristics as drugs, gambling and alcohol (Young, 1998). Some ofthe Internet addicts include persons who are depressed, lonely, andbored. Young (2010) terms addiction to the internet as an InternetUse Disorder due to the various predicaments linked with it.Teenagers are the key population at danger of becoming Internetaddicts as a result of the variability in the development of variousskills including boundary setting and cognitive control (Ceyhan,2011). Taking into account the incidence of Internet addictionamongst teenagers, estimates differ from one nation to the other. Forthis assignment, Internet addiction among teenagers and its impact onsociety is investigated. This is achieved by synthesizing earlierfindings relevant to the topic.

Impulse-ControlProblems

Internetaddiction, also referred to as Internet addiction disorder (IAD),includes a wide array of impulse-control problems. The mostwidespread include online games, cybersex, and cyber-relationshipaddiction (Ceyhan,2011). These and other problems are explained herein.

  • Computer addiction: this entails compulsive playing of computer games or computer programming. These are usually offline and they include Minesweeper and Solitaire among others.

  • Cybersex addiction: this is obsessive employment of chat rooms and Internet pornography. These have been evidenced to affect real-life relationships in a negative way.

  • Net Compulsions: these include obsessive online gaming.

  • Cyber relationship addiction: it entails being addicted to social networking messaging and texting, and chat rooms. At some point, addicts tend value online friends more at the expense of real-life associations.

  • Informative Overload: this encompasses obsessive web surfing resulting in reduced social interaction.

Symptomof Internet Addiction

Accordingto research, Internet addiction amongst teenagers is associated witha number of psychiatric symptoms. Consequently, the problem is linkedwith attention dearth hyperactivity disorder and depression (Charlton&amp Danforth, 2010). In addition to this, Internet addicts areassociated with severe psychopathology and have poor mental health(Charlton &amp Danforth, 2010).

Prevalence

Internetaddiction amongst teenagers has been proven to be a potentialconcern, especially with the speedy development and use of new media.It is linked with a variety of negative results, besides havingharmful consequences for teenagers, which necessitate specializedintervention. According to studies, the number of teenage internetusers has risen in the current time as compared to decades ago.According to Liu, Liao, &amp Smith (2012), approximately 665 millionindividuals used the Internet in 2002. In Korea, almost 60 percent ofthe whole population uses the Internet, implying that the Internet isan essential instrument for the majority of Koreans in the currenttime (Liu, Liao, &amp Smith, 2012). Korea is ranked sixth among theleading internet nations across the globe. Although the Internet hasenabled the Koreans to carry out business activities online,communicate, and obtain useful information, it has detrimentaleffects as far as addiction is concerned.

Currentresearches have demonstrated that 19.8 percent of teenagers worldwideare addicted to the Internet and besides it is linked with hostility(Kuss &amp Griffiths, 2012b). In the United States, the number ofteenagers using the Internet in 2000 was 26.6 million and this figurerose to 34.3 million in the following year (Kuss &amp Griffiths,2012b). In North America, adolescents aged between twelve toseventeen years are usually online every day for an average ofapproximately 11 hours every week (Kuss &amp Griffiths, 2012b). InTaiwan, 15 million people used the Internet and out of these,approximately 2.86 million were aged below 20 years (Kuss &ampGriffiths, 2012b). Out of the 2.86 million teenage internet users, 98percent were aged from 12 to 15, whilst those aged 16 to 20 yearscomprised of 95.6 percent (Kuss &amp Griffiths, 2012b).

Young(2010) puts forth that being addicted to the Internet is similar withsuch addictions as drugs, gambling, and alcohol. Addiction hasvarious features of dependence among them loss of control, tolerance,craving, as well as overindulgence. Behavioral addiction is linkedwith activities such as using computer and playing computer games.These do not depend on psychological mechanisms however, thepsychological explications.

Anumber of researchers define internet addiction as a physical andmental reliance on the use of internet, besides being a behavioraloriented addiction (Kuss &amp Griffiths, 2012b). In particular, itis a condition involving tolerance, obsession, and withdrawal withthe internet. A five Likert scale was introduced by Young (1998) withthe intention of measuring internet addiction. The measurementcontained 20 questions and it has been a point of reference for manyscholars who have carried out current researches on addiction.According to Ha (2000), the concept of internet addiction has becomeso common thus, it has been acknowledged by the majority ofacademicians and clinicians.

Contemporaryresearches on internet addiction center on three major aspects whichhelp in defining and explicating the notion. These encompass social,personal, as well as internet-linked factors. Song (1999) affirmsthat personal factors include introspective features, poorcommunication skills, low self esteem, and obsessive behaviors. Thesefactors make individuals more susceptible to internet addiction.Social factors include lack of or weak support from the familymembers, personal factors, and socio-psychological factors generate afavorable environment for internet addiction. Lastly, internet-linkedfactors including using the internet for a long time, internetavailability, as well as better skills for using the internet mayresult in addiction (Song, 1999).

Inthe adolescents’ generation of the current time, there is no linebetween real life and online interaction. This is evidenced by suchsocial media as Myspace.com, which started as a social networkingsite. Nevertheless, the site has modified to a “nightclub”operating 24 hours everyday and throughout the week. It has beenevidenced that compared to other sites such as Amazon and Google,Myspace obtains more visits in a day (Yellowlees &amp Marks, 2007).Myspace.com has approximately 40 million users globally, and itallows its users to employ their personal page to post photos andbulletins. This identity creation has made the site to be popularespecially among teenagers, who in turn have become addicted.

Teenagerswho are addicted to the internet have been distinguished from highinternet users using various personality traits. These includenegative extraversion, agreeableness, attractiveness, emotionalstability, and negative valence (Charlton &amp Danforth, 2010).Other characteristics that have been linked with internet addictionencompass anxiety, neuroticism, and sensation seeking (Charlton &ampDanforth, 2010). According to studies, teenager Internet addictsachieve considerably low on extraversion, agreeableness, andemotional stability as matched up to non-addicted teenagers (Young,2010). These factors have a high probability of boosting the dangerof teenage Internet addiction owing to the reason that numerousresearches have demonstrated the association.

Accordingto Young (2010) Internet addiction is a considerable risk toindividuals aged between 12 to 18 years. Furthermore, teenage malesare at a high risk of getting addicted as they employ the Internetmore as judged against adolescent female. There is a high likelihoodof addiction on home based Internet as compared to other places suchas schools and Internet cafes as put forward by Ceyhan (2011).

Therapyfor Internet Addiction

Asa result of the detrimental effects of teenage Internet addiction,various therapy measures have been offered with the intention ofsolving the problem. Therapy assists individuals to control their useof the Internet. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy offersmeasures to deal with obsessive Internet deeds. Therapy also offersalternative ways of dealing with various emotions includingdepression, anxiety and stress (King et al. 2011).

Inorder to curb or prevent Internet addiction, parents should encouragetheir teenage children to take part in social activities such asschool clubs and sports (Yellowlees &amp Marks, 2007). Anothermeasure is monitoring the use of computer and setting limits. Talkingto the teenagers regarding underlying concerns and seekingprofessional interventions are others measures that can beconsidered.

Effectson Society

Internetaddiction amongst teenagers has various effects on the society.Research has evidenced a wide array of negative impacts of Internetaddiction both to the individual and the society at large (Lam et al.2009). As a result, the notion on Internet addiction needs to betaken seriously with the intention of dealing with the same thus,curbing the negative effects. It has been evidenced that Internetaddiction is caused by social, personal, as well as Internet-linkedfactors. Those teenagers who find solace in the Internet tend toforget about their real- life associations with their friends andfamilies, preferring online gaming. Certainly, the society isimpacted through low socialization. Socialization is deemed as one ofthe most important factors that help a society grow. Furthermore,close relationships between the teenagers and their family membersand with their friends is also compromised. Obsessive web surfingresults in reduced social interaction in all aspects of life and thisis detrimental.

Anothereffect is low performance is schools. Teenagers who are Internetaddicts usually perform low in school considering that their mindsare always engaged on obsessive computer games, computer programming,chat rooms and messaging in the Internet. As Young (2010) hasaffirmed, Internet addiction is similar with other kinds of addictionincluding gambling, alcohol and drugs. Studies have evidenced thataddicts of this kind have low productivity in their places of work orin schools. Considering education is key to societal growth, Internetaddiction has negative impacts as far as success in learning isconcerned.

Asaforesaid, one of the major impulse-control problems is cybersexaddiction. In this case, teenagers obsessively employ chat rooms andInternet pornography. In addition to affecting real-liferelationships in a negative way, they also lead into sexualpredation. This behavior is especially common in chat rooms wherebyteenagers end up chatting with older people than themselves, and whoin real sense may be searching for something rather than a simplechat. To some people, this may sound ordinary but sexual predation isevident and it has made a number of families to live in fear.Internet platforms have turned out to be the major basis of contactbetween sexual predators with teenagers. This has resulted in sexualoffending, a major vice condemned in the society.

Accordingto Kuss &amp Griffiths (2012b), Internet addiction amongst teenagershas negative effects on identity formation, in addition to modifyingbrain formation structure. King et al (2011) argues that addictionresults in negative impact on cognitive functioning, results in pooracademic performance, makes teenagers to take part in riskyactivities, poor interpersonal associations, poor dietary behaviors,as well as self-injurious actions. Obviously, these numerous negativeeffects mean that Internet addiction has a wide array of harmfulphysical as well as psychological consequences amongst the teenagersrequiring specialized intervention. With reference to this, Internetaddiction among teenagers cannot be termed as an ephemeral happeningthat can resolve itself. On the contrary, it is significant toinvestigate and come up with a diagnosis for dealing with youngInternet addicts (King et al. 2011).

Conclusion

Fromthe discussion, the current time is characterized by increased socialinteraction on the Internet due to the rapid development oftechnology. This paper has investigated Internet addiction amongteenagers and its impact on society. It has been shown that easilyaccessible Internet at homes, schools, Internet cafes, and collegeshas exposed most teenagers into Internet as a significant tool forsocial interaction. This has turned many teenagers into Internetaddicts, with 19.8 percent of teenagers worldwide are addicted to theInternet. There are various impulsive-control problems that arelinked with Internet addiction among them computer addiction,cybersex addiction, cyber relationship addiction, informativeoverload, and net Compulsions. It has been shown that being addictedto the Internet is similar with such addictions as drugs, gambling,and alcohol. Addiction has various features of dependence among themloss of control, tolerance, craving, as well as overindulgence.Addiction results in negative impact on cognitive functioning,results in poor academic performance, makes teenagers to take part inrisky activities, poor interpersonal associations, poor dietarybehaviors, as well as self-injurious actions. Studies havedemonstrated numerous negative impacts of Internet addiction both tothe individual and the society at large. Accordingly, the idea onInternet addiction needs to be taken seriously with the intention ofdealing with the same therefore, eliminating the negative effects.

References

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